In early June, we returned to Texas from an Alaskan cruise. Most of the time on our trip, we wore lightweight jackets. It’s amazing how pleasant the weather is in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. We left Seattle headed for Denver, on a nice, cool day. After switching planes in Denver, however, our pilot announced that the temperature in Midland-Odessa (our destination) was 105 degrees! When we stepped out of the airport at 10 p.m., it was like walking into an oven. Talk about a shock!
States in the northeastern part of the United States have been experiencing extremely abnormal heat, resulting in a heat wave. It may be harder on those who are not accustomed to these hot temperatures to cope with, than those who live where high temperatures, along with high humidity are more common.
Cities are usually hotter than rural areas, due to brick buildings, asphalt streets and tar roofs. The elderly and others are afraid to go out if they live in unsafe neighborhoods. They have their windows sealed up for protection; therefore, they get no draft from outside. It’s up to friends and neighbors to see that they have some type of airconditioning, or take them to a place where they can be comfortable. There are many places where persons can visit in order to escape the heat: community centers, churches, senior citizen centers, malls, movies, libraries, or stores.
Those who are at risk to suffer the most from extreme heat are persons who are outside: firefighters, athletes, and anyone else who has to be in the sun most of the day. They should seek shade as much as possible and take breaks often. Workers should agree to watch out for each other, and be sure that they are getting enough water and rest during their shift.
Others at risk are:
- Persons who are overweight.
- Children age 4 to the elderly, past age 64.
- Those who have chronic medical or mental health conditions.
- Persons who take certain medications that can distrupt body temperature.
We should conserve energy as much as possible, both with our bodies, and our use of power to cool our homes. Overuse of power causes disruptions of service in heavily populated areas. The thermostat of the airconditioner should be set no lower than 78 degrees. There are timers that you can buy that enable you to set your cooling to come on around 30 minutes before you plan to arrive home from work or elsewhere.
Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water or juice; drink water often throughout the day. Stay away from alcohol or caffeinated drinks, as they deplete the fluids from your body. A good supplement for water is a sports drink, such as Powdered Gatorade Mix, which restores electrolytes and salt to the body.
This hot weather, too, shall pass. Before you know it, you will be digging out a jacket to wear to a football game! Until then, do all you can to “keep your cool.” And please, please, don’t leave children, older persons, or animals in your vehicles. It only takes ten minutes for the temperature to rise 20 degrees in a shut-up car!